! BOOKS !

Greetings from late August, dear reader!

I am here to share with you some publication news! Two poems from my second manuscript The Long Now Conditions Permit now appear in VOLT Literary Magazine Volume 26, and another poem that is an outlier to that manuscript, but may be pointing to what is next, appears in TIMBER Journal.

In TIMBER, my poems are joined by poems by Shira Dentz, Michelle Murphy, and Marie Kressin, among fire others; in VOLT, my poems are joined by poems by Julie Carr, Eléna Rivera, giovani singleton, and Page Hill Starzinger among wonder others. When my poems rub shoulders and canoodle with other poets’ poems, there exists the exciting prospect of connecting with readers and the wondrous possibility of community. Connection and community!

VOLT Literary Magazine Volume 26 front and back covers

The appearance of my poems “Across the Path That Is Not Mine” and “October Effect” in VOLT 26 marks the third issue of VOLT in which I have been lucky enough to have some of my poems published. Poems from The Minuses appear in Volume 15 (2008) and Volume 12 (2006). For me, this series of appearances signifies the building of community—VOLT‘s, mine, and me and my poems as part of VOLT‘s community. Expanding concentric circles of community. That is what I seek. I want to make lasting connections and build true friendships within the poetry and literary arts communities.

VOLT Literary Magazine Volumes 26, 15 & 12

Jane Miller, one of my graduate school poetry teachers at the University of Arizona, first introduced me to VOLT. What year was that—1992? That makes sense because according to VOLT‘s history, the magazine “was created on an unusually sunny afternoon in San Francisco in 1991.” The issue that Jane shared with me would have been VOLT Volume 1; I remember Jo Whaley’s Atomic Tea Party on the cover and inside, along with Jane’s writing, the poetry of Ralph Angel, Jane Hirshfield, Claudia Keelan, Yusef Komunyakaa, Donald Revell, and C. D. Wright, among gorgeous others. I was immediately captivated. The revving V-V-V of the magazine’s name, intuitively and instinctually connecting me to the seed sound or bija mantra of the sacral chakra, the energy center of creativity. The dimensions—9 x 12—embodying a material substance. There was a felt sense of the substantial even before opening the volume. Then, within: Because poems appear in the issue as they do on 8.5 x 11 paper, they are given their full visual and spatial expression. Hurrah! Plus, poems appear alphabetically, according to the poet’s surname; that organizing principle makes each issue an abecedarian. I love that! Because the issues do not contain editorial introductions or author biographies, they signal a primary focus on the poems. VOLT takes seriously being a poetry magazine.

Gillian Conoley

That’s because VOLT was brought into being by terrific poet and person Gillian Conoley! Gillian and I go back a ways and in time. Loving and mutually good friendships in poetry, and really all other realms, take time and trust. I had the chance to meet and spend time with Gillian in 2003 when she was one of the guest poets at Tucson Poetry Festival (TPF) XXI, which celebrated the connections between poetry and film. I was then the Executive Director of TPF, and XXI was the second in a five-festival series I conceived and directed that celebrated poetry’s relationships and connections to other artforms. During the 2003 Festival’s long weekend, Gillian and I hit it off; she’s warm, fun, and bold. She liked the introduction I gave before her TPF reading enough to ask me for a copy. A thrill and a delightful compliment.

Gillian has been a champion of my poems. First in VOLT, where she gave early homes to poems when I was just starting to send my writing out for consideration. Second on the back cover of my poetry collection The Minuses, where she offered the following words of support:

In these quiet, careful, though searing and poignant poems, Jami Macarty turns her considerable powers toward the dissolution of a romantic relationship in a desert landscape that is at once sustaining and doomed. Here, a body is at one with earthly extinction and failed romance: ‘I am your time to go now.’ These poems are as full of heart as they are of a keen intellect. Exquisitely honed and crafted, The Minuses provides testament to poetry’s ability to speak the unspeakable, to not only survive but to carry on: ‘she’s off-trail but knows her direction.’ This is a beautiful book of courage and the power to live fully, and on this planet, through heartbreak and hard-won joy.

—Gillian Conoley

Gillian’s words wow me in their understanding. It is really and truly something special to my heart when someone I admire gifts me with their attention and felt response. Every time I read “hard-won joy” in Gillian’s offering I shake my head. How did she know that?

VOLT 26 w/cover art by Hawley Hussey, incl my poems

Gillian tuned into joy again when reading the poems I offered for her consideration for VOLT 26. Here’s some of her response to the poems:

Loved reading these. Can I please have “October Effect” and “Across the Path that is Not Mine” for Volt 26?

Really lovely poems— I loved how they played and inter-played with language and politics/aesthetics all interwoven with colors— so striking! And the motifs of not owning— the relief and knowledge of that— the joy of it, too––

—Gillian Conoley

Reading and taking to my heart Gillian’s words elicits in me the feeling of running into the street and jumping for joy! Whoo hoo! Gillian “gets” my poems. Gets. There may be no greater feeling of connection than this between two people, between poet and reader… I am deeply grateful to Gillian for standing with me and my poems. Her presence means everything to my life and to me as a maker of poems.

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Timber Journal logo

If memory serves, I was first introduced to TIMBER Journal via the community of women/women-identified poets with whom I congregate and talk about reading, writing, and publishing poetry. Hurrah that community and their generous sharing of knowledge and resources!

At the helm of TIMBER Journal are the MFA candidates at the University of Colorado-Boulder. What attracted me to TIMBER is the editorial focus on “work which pushes against boundaries: genre-bend, build or break form, confront the rules and voices of the canon.” Yes, please; thank you! Then, there is their invitation and challenge: “If you’re not flirting with failure or writing risky, it’s probably not for us.” Rah rah “flirting with failure or writing risky”! Upon reading these words, I gathered together and sent for consideration some poems that flirted and risked. That was March.

TIMBER Journal Issue 12.2 Summer 2022

I mention time because writing and all things related to itmaking, revising, sending out, awaiting reply, etc.occur in time. Sometimes time is long, the process protracted; sometimes there’s a sense of quick turnaround and immediacy. Just four months later in July, I received a response from Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor and the poetry readers at TIMBER:

We loved your work and would like to include “Goddess Explains How to Bird to an Orphaned Daughter” in our upcoming issue!

—Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor and the poetry readers at TIMBER

Such love! This precious connection with readers makes me feel giddy with the possibilities of… well, of a poemto bring us to one another. As I think about it, so much has to take place in order for this small miracle of connection to zing between poet and reader. And, it could so very easily go the other away way. O, the crucial moments when we risk love!

You’re cordially invited to read “Goddess Explains How to Bird to an Orphaned Daughter” in TIMBER Journal Issue 12.2 Summer 2022!

Though I am just getting to know TIMBER Journal, I am filled with the excitement and promise the getting-to-know-you phase holds. I bow to Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor, the poetry readers, and staff at TIMBER Journal for their kind and generous attention to my writing. I look forward to reading future issues, and with the good shine from the Poetry Gods, maybe to find a home for some other of my failure-flirting, risk-taking poems. A poet has hope for more crucial moments of love!

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The Pluses!

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to my community of women/women-identified writers for their generous, loving support, inspiration, and encouragement.

+ Thank you bows and love to Gillian Conoley, special-to-me person, poet, and, pal, for her continued support of my poems!

+ I bow to the existence of VOLT Literary Magazine and am grateful for its innovative design and content!

+ Thank you bows to Rachel Franklin Wood, Poetry Editor, and the poetry readers at TIMBER Journal for taking a chance on and publishing my poem.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to my publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows to Nomados Literary Publishers, Meredith and Peter Quartermain for making my chapbook Instinctive Acts with me.

+ Thank you bows to Vallum Chapbook Series and editors Leigh Kotsilidis and Eleni Zisimatos for making my chapbook Mind of Spring with me.

+ Thank you bows to Finishing Line Press and editors Leah Maines and Christen Kinkaid for making my chapbook Landscape of The Wait with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me! I would love to hear from you!

! BOOKS !

Dear Readers, Dear Readers,

Here I am at May’s end to share with you two poems from my second collection, The Long Now Conditions Permit (awaiting a beloved publisher), that have been recently published, and to talk a bit about my practice of sending my writing out for consideration.

Jet Fuel Review #23; Cover Art: Terrarium with Heart of Amateur Mycologist, by Karyna McGlynn

Jet Fuel Review first came to my attention within a community of women/women-identified writers who share their publishing yeses and nos. Yes, also the nos. Because receiving a no is an indication of taking the time and making the effort to research magazines, prepare a batch of writing, and send it off for consideration. That is, a no is not feedback on its own, but it is a sign that the writer is committed enough to her writing to share it with editors, publishers, and readers. So, our community celebrates the nos. In fact, we challenge each other to send our writing out into the world enough in order to reach the yearly goal of receiving one hundred nos. This is a intersectional feminist literary action meant to confront especially the gender imbalances in the literary landscape.

Terrarium with Eve and Split Durian, by Karyna McGlynn

A few of the women writers in this community shared that they had received a yes or a no from Jet Fuel Review. After the name of the magazine appeared in the field of my attention a few times, I felt called to take a closer look. What first captured my attention when I visited the Jet Fuel Review website: the artwork! I found it to be a beautiful blend of the provocative and evocative, speaking a visual language resonant with my imagination and writing. Then, upon reading the writing, I found much to react for and against—both ranges of responsiveness are important to me as a reader. Respecting what I saw and read, I sent the editors a batch of my poems.

They said yes to “Splitting Lesson,” a poem from The Long Now Conditions Permit. Whoo hoo!

l am grateful to everyone who makes Jet Fuel Review (JTR) a vibrancy; I appreciate being included in the JTR community. How dear and special to be in conversation with careful and thoughtful editors.

Sweetening the pot of this yes: That sister writers from my community brought Jet Fuel Review to my attention; That my poem shares space in the magazine with writing by some of those sister writers; That my poem rubs shoulders with poems by poets new to me, including poet and artist Karyna McGlynn whose art is featured in the issue. I dig her marvelous collages!

Queen of Melting Ice, by Karyna McGlynn

In our writing community, we not only share yeses/nos, we share our experiences with magazines, bringing to the fore: Those new or lesser known; Those receptive to particular styles of writing; Those with/out artist-friendly editorial practices; Those magazines to approach with trust or caution; Those to avoid. This sharing—rather than coveting—of experience, knowledge, information, and resources is the precious stuff of a supportive community that expresses not scarcity, but abundance. This ethos strengthens our community and broadens it, bringing more writers together with writers and readers. Simply grand!

Of course, the practice of sending writing out for consideration is also, in part, a numbers game. One cannot win unless one plays. As the wisdom goes. And, the way laws of averages work, the more writing a writer sends out for consideration, the more chances there are for it to receive a yes. I am engaged in this practice of sending my writing out for consideration, because I want to learn what there is to learn from the process. But I know this is not a practice for every writer. For me, it is a question of do I want to keep my writing to myself or share it? I want to share it! And, in the process, I am building my tolerance for no. I have come to understand that much about being a writer is about building tolerances for various aspects of the writing practice that are beyond my control. And, I imagine eventually being unshaken by nos… 

And, in the same way, being unshaken by yeses, though shaking with despair at the nos and delight at the yeses may not be helped.

One flavor of yes that emerges from the practice of sending writing out for consideration is the opportunity to build a positive relationship of mutual respect, trust, and meaning with the editorial team of a literary magazine in which my writing appears. Those qualities are surely, brilliantly alive in my relationship with the editorial team at Vallum: Contemporary Poetry.

Vallum: Contemporary Poetry 13:1 “Open Theme”; Art: Matt Crump

The lovely, good people at Vallum have been enormously supportive to me and my poems. “Helicopter” and “Nor’easter,” two poems from The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), appeared in issue 13:1 “Open Theme.”

Cover of Mind of Spring; Cover: James Bremner, Jr.

Mind of Spring,” my long, three-part poem won the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award and was subsequently published with a cheery yellow (the color of palo verde blossoms) cover, in a limited edition chapbook (sold out in print, but available digitally).

Vallum: Contemporary Poetry 18:1 “Invisibility”; Cover: Antoine Janot

Also, my Vallum darlings have published two poems from The Long Now Conditions Permit. “Lustrous Fugitive” appears in issue 18:1 “Invisibility.”

Vallum: Contemporary Poetry 19:1 “Bridges”; Cover: Nora Kelly

I like and admire and respect the editors at Vallum very much, and I like the art and writing that the magazine publishes. Not all of it of course, but most of it and that’s something, because I can be a picky and picayune reader. We each have our preferred chords and flavors and such. “Is Occurring,” another poem from The Long Now Conditions Permit, seems to have struck a chord with the editors of Vallum 19:1 “Bridges,” where it appears. Whoo hoo!

Hurrah bridges!

Poetry Bridges!

Community bridges!

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The Pluses!

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to my community of women/women-identified writers for their beautiful, generous, loving support, inspiration, and encouragement.

+ Thank you bows to Simone Muench, Faculty Advisor, Cassidy Fontaine-Warunek, Managing Editor et al who make Jet Fuel Review a vibrancy; I appreciate their professional and stream-lined editorial production methods, and now that I am taking in issue #23, I am appreciative of their collective, inclusive, expansive editorial vision and artistic direction. 

+ Thank you bows to Eleni Zisimatos, Co-Editor-in-Chief & Poetry Editor, Jay Ritchie, Managing Editor et al at Vallum: Contemporary Poetry for including me and my poems in your sustaining, important, and beautiful presence of and for poetry and art in Montreal, Canada, and internationally.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to my publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows to Nomados Literary Publishers, Meredith and Peter Quartermain for making my chapbook Instinctive Acts with me.

+ Thank you bows to Vallum Chapbook Series and editors Leigh Kotsilidis and Eleni Zisimatos for making my chapbook Mind of Spring with me.

+ Thank you bows to Finishing Line Press and editors Leah Maines and Christen Kinkaid for making my chapbook Landscape of The Wait with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me! I would love to hear from you!

! BOOKS !

Happy New Year and Happy February to you, dear readers!

Let us tall about books. The reading, reviewing, and making of books…

I want to share with you what this poet accomplished during January: I read 26 books and chapbooks. Mostly poetry, of course! I loved books by Kazim Ali (Sky Ward), Ralph Angel (Twice Removed), Margaree Little (Rest), and C. D. Wright (Deepstep Come Shining & Rising, Falling Hovering), among other wonders. And, reading aloud a story or two most days, I arrived to page 596 in The Stories of John Cheever. What a writer!

I offered my reader’s response for five of the books I read and posted them on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon. I appreciate the challenge to bring to words my take on a book I have read. Take a peek!

I sent out on the breaths of candle wishes (20+) batches of my poems and my second manuscript of poetry for consideration, and I applied for a residency. This sending of my writing out, is for me, a gesture of engagement with what it means to be a writer and is also an engagement with hope for conversation.

Such a hope-conversation emerges in TinFish 22: INARTICULATE FUTURES in which “I am walking without looking,” a poem from my second manuscript, is included. The looking up, looking down, looking elsewhere issue cover image (above), by Olivia Kailani Marohnic, inspires the temporal thinking within the issue. I am grateful for the conversation with what it means to be an experimental writer who lives in proximity to the Pacific Ocean. I am quite taken by the writing of the other seven other contributors…

You are most cordially invited to read the articulations of the impossible future within the issue of TinFish. Accompanying the poems by each contributor is a short audio clip that contextualizes the future-thinking from within the poems. They are fascinating! Come, bring your ears, your eyes to our poems!

Hurrah! This bright, shiny, new Year of the (water) Tiger is off to a smashing start.

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to each of the writers whose books, chapbooks, and stories I read in January; your efforts inspire me to bring my words into the light.

+ Thank you bows to TinFish editorial team Jaimie Guzman Nagle, Zoë Loos, and Donovan Kūhiō Colleps, whose care and attention brought forth my poem and its companions in TinFish 22: Inarticulate Futures.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to my publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows to Nomados Literary Publishers, Meredith and Peter Quartermain for making the chapbook Instinctive Acts with me.

+ Thank you bows to Vallum Chapbook Series and editors Leigh Kotsilidis and Eleni Zisimatos for making the chapbook Mind of Spring with me.

+ Thank you bows to Finishing Line Press and editors Leah Maines and Christin Kinkaid for making the chapbook Landscape of The Wait with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me! I would love to hear from you!

! BOOKS !

Well, my dears, my friends, soon December and 2021 will be a wrap. Here I am one more time this year to say hello and share of myself and my practices of writing and reading books.

I took December entirely off from any other word-work (as editor, mentor/teacher) to make way for my own at-home writer’s retreat. During the month, I planned to work with the poems I wrote between January 2020 and January 2021—about 120 of them or about 150 pages—with an eye on assembling a second manuscript of poetry. I made the time and space and set my intentions. Even so, I did not know what I would get done.

A lot got done! The reason I know about how many poems and pages I have is because I compiled, read, and revised all of them. Some poems arrived at more wholeness than others, some were set aside because they did not inspire me to further engagement, some are resting after word-surgery. I am saying I worked on all of the poems to one extent or another, arranged them in groups according to where they are in the “done” continuum, and now have a working draft of a new manuscript. What a marvelous month of devotion to my imagination it has been. Tra La La!

Thank you so very mucho to everyone who supported me during the days and weeks of words this month, especially JRW.

To support my composing and revising and organizing, I read a bunch during the month—and throughout the year—and found a lot of good company. If you have been following me here, then you know this is year four of #mypersonalBigRead.

Drum roll… I did it; I read an average of one volume (full-length collection of poetry, chapbook, magazine, memoir, fiction) each day of the year. Actually, I read a smidge more than that; I read a total of 374 volumes in 2021! The four year tally: 1,185 volumes. Here are the stats…

Even as I tally the numbers there is a wafting of disbelief. Just as with my intention to take a personal writing retreat for December, I made the plan to read up a storm during the year. In doing so, however I have no idea what I will do or actually accomplish. I think that has something to do with who makes the plan and who sits in the chair at the desk. The difference between an idea and fingers to the keyboard or eyes to the page. Making the plan and then seeing what I can/will do feels like a big experiment. So, I surprise myself. The results of my efforts and labors surprise me. I like that. Surprise is special.

May the last few days of 2021 surprise you! And, may 2022 unwrap and unfold in surprise for all of us!

I send you my very best of everything for health, happiness, safety, and creativity.

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to all of the writers whose books, chapbooks, stories, and novel I read; your efforts inspire me to bring my words into the light.

+ Thank you bows to all of the editors whose support brought forth the books, chapbooks, stories, and novel I read in 2021.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to my publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!

! Books !

Dear Reader, Dear Reader!

October 15, 2021 was a rather grand day of publication in my life as an editor and a poet. The Fall 2021 of The Maynard, the online poetry journal I co-founded and at which I am the editor entered the world and four of my poems were published in the Fall 2021 issue of BlazeVOX. Tra la!

Here’s the fierce and fine cover of the Fall 2021 issue of The Maynard, “Tiger Orange” created by Clare Owen and a list of the issue’s poets.

The Maynard Fall 2021 issue represents six months of my work as an editor. From February 1 to July 31, 2021 300 batches of five poems each were sent in for consideration for the Fall 2021 issue. I read close to 1,500 poems from which 28 poems were selected for the issue. How long does reading 1,500 poems take? I clocked my reading rate at an average of 15 batches per hour, which is about 20 hours. From that first reading phase, I collected the poems I want to return to because there’s something about them… Then, I went back and read all of those poems more deeply and in repetition. Some poems slide away, some stick. Those poems that stick are shared with my colleague who has gone through a similar process. During two and a half hour meetings (four of them), we went back and forth reading to each other the poems on our long list. We become outrageous. We become passionate as we argue for the poems we most want, we are disappointed when a poem doesn’t hold up to our imaginations, but we relent, and finally we are giddy for the poems left on the table. First stage letters go out. From there, I conducted line edits on the poems. Second stage letters go out. Then, I take my findings, comments, and suggestions to an editorial conversation with each of the 24 poets. There was lots of email back and forth about commas and uses of this or that word and what Blake called “Minute Particulars”: “Labour well the Minute Particulars: attend to the Little Ones.” The “Little Ones” in this case being the details that are crucial to a poem’s full life. After the editorial phase arrives the proofreading phase. More email. The correction of the proof. More email. More email. Then, miraculously, publication!

Read the Fall 2021 issue of The Maynard!

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Welcome to the Fall 2021 issue of BlazeVOX where four of my newer poems appear! In his introduction, editor Geoffrey Gatza writes: “In this issue we seek to avoid answers but rather to ask questions. With a subtle minimalistic approach, this issue of BlazeVOX focuses on the idea of “public space” and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at any given moment: the non-private space, the non-privately owned space, space that is economically uninteresting. The works collected feature coincidental, accidental, and unexpected connections, which make it possible to revise literary history and, even, better, to complement it.” Later in the introduction, Gatza writes: “These pieces demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own “cannibal” and “civilized” selves.”

The four poems of mine that appear in the Fall 2021 issue of BlazeVOX are from a series of thirty-one poems begun in 2014 during a time of intense contemplation of the War in Afghanistan, the nineteen-year, 10-month conflict that took place from 2001 to 2021. I was particularly focused on the stressful and traumatic effects of war on those who go to fight as well as those who stay home to wait. The poem titles: “If There Were Anywhere But Desert,” “Countenance,” “Who Bed Is This to Lie On,” and “O Beautiful for Post-Traumatic Stress.”

In August 2021 during the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, maybe as a way to cope or as a way to answer the destruction of war with creative energy, I was called to return to this series of poems. I took a chance sending them out; a poet always enters the game of chance when sending work out for consideration. And, hurrah, editor Geoffrey Gatza liked them enough to offer to publish them all together. Hurrah! These are the first poems from that as yet untitled series that have been published. I’m grateful to Geoffrey Gatza and I am grateful that the poems are together.

Read my poems in Fall 2021 issue of BlazeVOX!

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to my colleague at The Maynard, and to the 24 poets and cover artist Clare Owen who trusted us with their art.

+ Thank you bows to BlazeVOX editor Geoffrey Gatza for his confidence in my poems.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!

! Books !

Dear Reader! Dear Listener!

On October 1, 2021, Sabyasachi (Sachi) Nag at The Artisanal Writer asked me nine questions about the craft of writing and reading. And, I answered them!

The Artisanal Writer asked me these nine Qs:

  1. Each of your poetry collections seem to have been either triggered by or woven around a few central ideas e.g., The Minuses, around the relationships between women and nature; Instinctive Acts, around immigration and identity; Mind of Spring, around facets of personal and military wars; Landscape of The Wait, around your nephew’s car accident. Do you arrive at the idea first and then compose around the idea or does the idea emerge from the writing, informed by the obsessions at a given period of time?
  2. What are your primary concerns when constructing a poem? Are you like Frost trying to make each poem as different from the previous as possible? Or do you think that couldn’t be?
  3. In an interview with Colorado State University, you said “I tend not to bypass what’s present, but instead use it as the prompt from which to write.” In that context, how do you arrive at meaning, or do you consciously not and allow the reader to arrive at it? How important is intention in a particular piece within a themed collection?
  4. What made you a writer?
  5. What does it mean/suggest for you to think about your craft with each published work? If you were to associate an image with the development timeline of your writing craft what would that look like?
  6. In pushing your work beyond your first title what were you most conscious of? What were/are you trying to achieve?
  7. Are there any books that you keep visiting for inspiration?
  8. Do you train your subconscious in certain ways to deal with success or rejection?
  9. How do you deal with aspects of writing that provoke negative emotions such as self-doubt, failure, exasperation? Is there an emotional ritual/practice you follow to deal with that?

The Artisanal Writer editors bestowed upon my responses a lightening accompaniment.

Fulgur Conditum!

Read my nine responses here!

May you find lightening buried among them.

Within the interview, I offer a five-minute recorded reading from the poems of The Minuses.

(Find the recording after the ninth question.)

Listen to the reading here!

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to Sabyasachi (Sachi) Nag and The Artisanal Writer for the gift of inquiry and space to respond.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!

! Books !

Dear Reader! Dear Listener!

On July 8, 2021, I read poems from The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University, 2020) with Nigerian poet Saddiq Dzukogi, who read from his heart moving collection, Your Crib, My Qibla, (University of Nebraska Press, 2021) and Taos, New Mexico Poet Laureate Catherine Strisik, author of Insectum Gravitis (Main Street Rag, 2019), who read beautiful new poems.

Listen to the reading here! (passcode: m2eJp=C^)

Saddiq’s, My, and Catherine’s books nestled together!

One of the special, expanding benefits of reading via Zoom is that my community of beloveds from far and wide can be with. For the July 8th reading, my dear friends from Berlin joined us from their island vacation spot in Sweden via cell phone. In the year two thousand twenty-one, this can be! Plus, friends from Vancouver, BC any outlying areas could join. The photo below features Vincent K. Wong’s phone with the tree of Spanish Banks Beach listening in.

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to Catherine Strisik for bringing Saddiq Dzukogi, me, and her together in a sweet and delightful community of poets and listeners.

+ Thank you bows to the souls who joined us from all over North America and Europe!

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!

! Books !

Welcome, Dear Reader!

How happy I am to have your fine company here, today

June 24, 2021 when my poem “Thin Attachment”—

from my during-the-pandemic-published poetry collection 

The Minuses

is the featured poem

on Poetry Daily!

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to Poetry Daily and the team at poems.com for their support to this poet, this poem, and for every step the Poetry Daily staff make in support of poets and their poetry.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!

! BOOKS !

Happy May!

And a bird overhead sang Follow,
And a bird to the right sang Here;
And the arch of the leaves was hollow,
And the meaning of May was clear.

―Algernon Charles Swinburne

The month of May is named after Maia―known as the Great Mother, the embodiment of nurturing and growth. That’s perfect for springtime’s buds and blooms, nest building and egg laying. All of this new, new life making itself known while simultaneously we collectively grieve great loss related to the pandemic.

What potent blood hath modest May. —Ralph W. Emerson

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And after winter folweth grene May. ―Geoffrey Chaucer

Welcome!

Dear Reader, I’m thrilled you’re with me here in “grene May,” where I will share dispatches from my reading and writing practices in April!

What did I read in the fourth month of my fourth annual personal big read: #mypersonalBigRead2021?

Here are some highlights!

Parkinsonia florida, the blue palo verde, a Sonoran Desert native which blooms in April and May; image: Jami Macarty.

At the beginning of April, I was preoccupied with proofreading the Spring 2021 issue of The Maynard. For those of you who do not know, The Maynard is the online poetry magazine I co-founded (in 2006/7) and edit. The Spring 2021 issue features The Maynard‘s customary 24 poets, and my focus was on ensuring their 32 poems and 24 bios were error-free. Each time I proofread an issue I’m aware of the process’s calling—for fine-tuned, detail-oriented, and meticulous attention. Proofreading is an undertaking that humbles me! As I comb every line of text, I’m acutely aware of how pressure-inducing and nerve-wracking the process is. You know, when you’re an editor for a poetry magazine, much of your reputation rides on getting names and titles and poems right. As daunting as the task is, it’s equally rewarding. I am proud of the Spring 2021; it is beautiful and makes me happy! I hope you think so, too!

You’re cordially invited to read and listen to the poems of the Spring 2021 issue of The Maynard!

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Once The Maynard was into the world, I turned my attention to deep engagement with the poetry of Alice Notley. Notley was due to read for the Enclave Reading series, and I wanted to steep in her world in preparation. As I think about “preparing” myself for Alice Notley, I get curious. I don’t always “prepare” for readings. Certainly, I have attended other readings “to get to know” poets. However, I have heard Alice Notley read before. All I can offer to myself by way of explanation is that I wanted to be in and in and in Notley’s profound, expansive world for longer than the hour of her live reading. In another way, dear reader, that I felt called to “prepare” myself for Alice Notley gives you a sense of the affect of the energy and power of her writing on me.

We name us and then we are lost, tamed
I choose words, more words, to cure the tameness, not the wildness

Alice Notley

Another highlight of the month’s reading was Rae Armantrout‘s third (I think) collection, Precedence. This book and beautiful object is special to me because of its publication date (1985) early in Armantrout’s ouvre, and also because of the publisher, Rosmarie and Keith Waldrop’s Burning Deck, based in Providence, Rhode Island. These are not easy books to get hands on, so a bibliophile is happy!

willing
to address the world’s
intelligent and
uninhabited designs
.
―Rae Armantrout

In two closings of the loop, I wrapped up April’s reading by engaging with eight collections of poetry in the running for the 2021 New Mexico/Arizona Books Awards for poetry in either the New Mexico or Arizona categories. It was inspiring and gratifying for me to read some of the collections in this year’s field. Au courant! Plus, doing so gave me perspective on last year’s award, won by my collection The Minuses.

palo verde: green stick tree
precipitating yellow blossoms:
green tree, yellow blossoms:
a mind sticks on certain images
, certain colors
―Jami Macarty

I read 30 volumes in April, and as of this writing I have read a total of 134 volumes for the year. The books I plan to read are stacked and May’s reading is underway. One of the books I’m poised to read is RESISTANCE: RIGHTEOUS RAGE IN THE AGE OF #METOO, an anthology speaking out against sexual assault, male violence against women, and abuse of power in its many, disturbing forms, edited by Sue Goyette, shepherded by managing editor Kelly Laycock, and published by the University of Regina Press. My poem, “Autumn in the East, the Pilot” joins 80 other voices raised in rage, resistance, and resilience.

Pink, small, and punctual,
Aromatic, low,
Covert in April,
Candid in May

―Emily Dickinson

I’ll write again soon to share my engagements with the books I read, report back on whether or not the books I plan to read are actually those that I read, and how the reading goes. Until then.

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to the writers and publishers, who brought their grand accomplishments of chapbooks and books into the world, for keeping me company and inspiring me in April.

+ Thank you bows to poet and editor Sue Goyette, managing editor Kelly Laycock, and the rest of the team at University of Regina Press for their forbearance and attention to the publication of RESISTANCE, and for including one of my poems in the anthology’s necessary conversation.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses (2020) with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!

! BOOKS !

Happy April!

Hurrah dear reader, you are here!

In these monthly ish dispatches I share with you my writer’s and reader’s experiences—about my books, about the books of others, about my writing practice, and my reading practice.

Happy National Poetry Month!

“April is the cruellest month, breeding” is the line that opens “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot. Ninety-nine years after the publication of the seminal, Modernist poem that opening line is the prompt for the celebration of the twenty-fifth annual National Poetry Month in the United States of America. Since 1998, Canada has also been celebrating poetry during April; this is the 23rd annual celebration of National Poetry Month across the ten provinces and three territories in Canada.

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In March, my during-the-pandemic-published poetry collection, The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), celebrated its first year anniversary. What a year! The pandemic has left me reeling. The tremendous amount of loss—of precious lives and of the smaller stuffs of my normal way of life. With the grief and reckoning ongoing, I’m finding it harder to take pleasure and feeling lethargic. Of course, that’s playing a role in my sense of being in flow with my writing and reading practices, and in my sense of productivity and accomplishment.

And. Through this stream of loss and lethargy flows some “pluses” around The Minuses. What are “the pluses”? Reviews, interviews, and events I and my poems have been lucky to receive. In this post, I share with you excerpts from the review Lacy Aul, aka Claudia Keelan, offered The Minuses in Interim. Though the review was published late December 2020, I’ve been revisiting it as a lethargy-booster, to remind me of what I seek in language. Below, I also share with you the YouTube link to the year anniversary reading I gave for the Tucson-based poetry group POG. And, I take account of some of the books I read in March, the third month of my fourth annual personal Big Read:  #mypersonalBigRead2021.

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What Is Missing Lives in What Is Found: On The Minuses by Jami Macarty—a review by Lacy Aul, aka Claudia Keelan

The Minuses is a collection of poems that locates origin in the ongoing energy of the physical world. Dedicated to “The One who renders this ground known and unknown,” The Minuses renders such a ground by showing how the phenomenal nature of wind, trees, birds, plants—in essence all vegetable, mineral and nonhuman entities—exist in parity with the contingent nature of their function in time. Indeed, while even human-made-things—such as doorways, windows, and public parks, also provide insight in the transparency of their use value—human beings in The Minuses are often dependent upon an a priori understanding of existence, which hinders them from observing their likewise conditional roles on the earth we share.” —from What Is Missing Lives in What Is Found: On The Minuses by Jami Macartyby Lacy Aul

Lacy Aul, Claudia Keelan‘s penname, offered The Minuses a review that made birds fly out of the top of my head in Volume 36: Issue 5 of Interim, the all women’s 2020 print issue, whose publication is supported by the English Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and by the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute

Interim, edited by Claudia Keelan, gave a home to two poems from The Minuses: “Reverse of Shadow” appeared in Volume 27 / Number 1 & 2 / 2009. “You Is to Door as I Is to Door” (retitled: “Door Ratio”) appeared in Volume 30 / Issue 1 & 2 / 2013.


The presiding spirit of inquiry in The Minuses would make such a world where oppositions parlay to form a whole… The urge towards completeness in the book finds itself in constant combat with a counter spirit whose innate, if cowardly, function is to further divide—human from earth, self from other, man from woman, body from soul—into the ultimate opposition that is war. The proponents of subtraction deals in the language of one to one comparison: “I cannot say who you are without saying who I am” (21, “Reverse of Shadow”). Unstuck in time where impossibly “The past increases within the present,” (30, ”Equals Rain”) and “What you say is our future / is your future” (31, “Door Ratio”), the protagonists of opposition bully those whose loyalty towards the possibility of the “all” insures their victimization and silence.—from What Is Missing Lives in What Is Found: On The Minuses by Jami Macarty by Lacy Aul

Interim and Claudia Keelan have been wonderfully, indispensably supportive to me and my work. Claudia also wrote a generous, sweet something for the back cover of The Minuses.

The poems in Jami Macarty’s devotional collection swing upon a hinge that is the recurring site of the poet’s perception in time, where what is seen shows the inherent connection of each thing to its other: “honey given : honey taken.” The Minuses’ brilliance lives in what the poet is able to give up for the possibility of finding a wholeness that is ongoing: “I come and go / from myself as I am / I will not return.” A seer is, after all, one who sees. Jami Macarty is one who sees.
—from Claudia Keelan for the back cover of The Minuses.

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POG Arts Tucson Reading, March 20, 2020

Jami Macarty lives and writes very much in the world you and I occupy, one in which we entangle with each other, have mutual responsibilities, give incredible gifts, yet don’t always treat the other or even oneself so well… There is no avoidance of the world in Macarty’s work, that world which may be disgraced and marked by serial killing, and be in need of painkillers. Yet there is also a mind intent on salvaging what is of use, a practice that will bring us tiger stamina to survive, a certainty that we are and can be though perhaps “a burning fragment,” still a fragment, “in the menagerie of the surviving world.” Macarty understands the wonders of place… One constant in her writing which seems to embrace her sense of place, literal and metaphoric, is a persistent dwelling in and within the sounds of language, sometimes expressed in a marvelous consonantal barrage of alliteration… I think we are fortunate tonight to walk our ears and minds in her particular “circus circumstance.” from Charles Alexander‘s introduction

On March 20, 2021, I celebrated the one year anniversary of The Minuses by giving a reading with Jeanne Heuving for the people of POG: Poetry in action! This is the second time I’ve read for the Tucson-based poetry group. The first reading was in 2005, a month or so before I moved from Tucson to Vancouver. For that reading I was live and in person, standing at a microphone at Cushing Street Bar in Downtown Tucson. For this second reading, fifteen and a half years later, I offered my poems over Zoom from my apartment in Vancouver. Jeanne Heuving zoomed in from Seattle, our hosts from Tucson, and forty souls joined us from locales in between.

Jeanne Heuving and I had been trying for a reading together for a while, so I was happy to finally roost at POG with her and her marvelous poems from Mood Indigo.

Listen to the POG Arts Tucson reading on YouTube!

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What I read in March: #mypersonalBigRead2021

Now, allow me to share with you what I read during March. Because March is Women’s History Month and because I had not yet read a single chapbook, I read mostly chapbooks and mostly volumes by women during the third month of the year.

In the photos above are some of the chapbooks I read in March. Let me fill in the blanks of the peeking titles at the edges. In the third photo: on the left edge, Paper Work, by Matea Kulić, and on the right edge maybe, basically, by Tracy Waide Boer, both published by Anstruther.

Other wonderful chapbook publishers of the above: Effing Press, Finishing Line Press, Frog Hollow Press, Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies Press, Madhouse Press, Nomados Literary Publishers, Omnidawn Publishing, Porkbelly Press, and SpeCt! Books.

Among the women writers above who most inspire me: Nicole Brossard, Daphne Marlatt, Hoa Nguyen, Dayna Patterson, Emily Pérez, Christine Stewart, and Lissa Wolsak; I thank them for their ongoing support and inspiration and conversation.

Chapbooks! I used to think lesser of them. That is, that they were lesser forms of publication. I think I picked up that judgment from the prevailing winds within poetry… Over time and reading, my attitude evolved… Then, between 2017 and 2018, three chapbooks containing my work were published; I found that process completely gratifying. Now I feel the complete opposite; “lesser than” has morphed to “more than”—enough. I find chapbooks special and exciting and enchanting. I respond especially to the short but intense spell they cast. Right now, with my mushy ish, hard-to-keep-interested-brain (what others are calling “pandemic brain”), the length, intensity, and ephemerality of chapbooks are a perfect match. They are a manageable read, and that makes me feel like I can accomplish some reading. Hurrah chapbooks!

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+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention!

+ Thank you bows to poet and reviewer and horizon Claudia Keelan, for her expansively attentive, made birds fly out of my head, generous review of The Minuses, and to Interim for ongoing support of my poetry.

+Thank you bows to Charles Alexander et al at POG for making space for me to read my poems; to Charles again for his charming introduction, and to Jeanne Heuving for sharing her poems and the Zoom stage with me on March 20, 2020.

+ Thank you bows to the writers and publishers who brought their grand accomplishments of chapbooks and books into the world for keeping me company and inspiring me in March.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to publisher Stephanie G’Schwind, and Mountain West Poetry Series editors Donald Revell and Kazim Ali, et al interns at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) for making The Minuses with me.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Beth Svinarich et al at University Press of Colorado for their beautiful support to me and The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to monsoon storm chaser and marvelous professional photographer, Liz Kemp whose monsoon photograph storms the cover of The Minuses.

+ Thank you bows (continuous!) to Vincent K. Wong for his friendship, creative collaboration, and for taking my author photos.

+ This bears repeating: Thank you bows (continuous!) to you, dear reader, for the gift of your attention! If you have any questions or comments, write me!